How to Plan Your Next Vacation

packing

Vacations are about memories. The warmth of the mid-day sun beaming down on your face, the laughter of your grandchildren as they discover starfish for the first time, the crunch of pine needles underfoot as you embark on a morning hike in the mountains.

Since vacations are about memories, shouldn’t you put as much thought into planning memories as you do picking the destination? One travel Web site calls 2010 “The Year of the Deal.” Here are a few things to consider as you plan your vacation:

  • Find – and USE – a great travel agent. A good travel agent is invaluable; he/she will save you time, money and headaches. Ask your friends, colleagues or visit ASTA’s Web site for references.
  • Location, location, location. Make your trip do double (or triple) duty: Select a destination that has several different attractions in the same area. Perhaps you can fly to your primary place, then drive or take the train to other places. If you’re visiting a large or international city, TimeOut is a great place to find out what’s hot.
  • Skimp on the simple, splurge on the sumptuous. Brownbag your breakfasts and focus on your day’s events. Some hotels serve complimentary breakfasts in their lobby. Opt for a light lunch at a local (non-chain) café, or if you dare, sample from a street vendor. Save your substance for a relaxing evening meal in a nicer restaurant. It’s all about the experience (memories).
  • Make it a “mini.” Instead of one week-long vacation, how about four long weekends? Combine them with federal holidays for a more relaxed year overall.
  • Consider a “staycation.” You don’t have to go somewhere geographically to return refreshed. If you live in the ‘burbs, spend a few days trolling your city’s museums and parks. Don’t forget to check the local libraries for upcoming events. Overworked and super-stressed? Check SpaFinder.com for specials. Find a local landmark you’ve been MEANING to visit but never got around to it. Here’s a thought: Consider creating a relaxing environment in your own home. Take a couple of days to clear out the clutter in your master bedroom; invest in a nice comforter set and voila! Your OWN spa retreat.
  • Remember “face-time.” Make a family pact not to spend so much time Facebooking and Tweeting about your vacation that you fail to enjoy the LIVE experience together. Do take pictures and by all means, frame and hang one that symbolizes the memories you’ve made.

I’m open to thoughts: Where will YOU make your memories this summer? What are your tips for making your vacation a memorable one?

Petey

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